Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 14, No. 30, Ed. 1 Friday, November 21, 1997 Page: 76 of 80
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2624 ELM STREET 214.651.1177
The Christmas and Hanukkah sto-
ries are well-known, and the reason we
celebrate at New Year's is obvious. But
for all its popularity, the American cele-
bration of Thanksgiving is probably
fraught with more misconception than
Most Americans probably assume
that Thanksgiving proceeded annually
from that first celebration when the
Pilgrims and the Native Americans
who had helped them through their
first harsh year on the continent got
together after the harvest for a feast of
Wrong. Although the Pilgrim cele-
bration was the first historically-
acknowledged harvest festival held by
American colonists, the development of
Thanksgiving as an American holiday
has a checkered past, indeed. And
although wild turkey was cooked for
that first repast, it was merely one of
many offerings, most gathered not from
farms and granaries but culled from the
natural abundance which surrounded
the colonists. There was com (and corn-
bread) and barley the colonists had
grown with help from the Native
Americans, but the remainder of the
repast consisted of eel, clams, wild
plums, cod, bass, geese and ducks.
Though not called Thanksgiving at
the time, this first feast was celebrated
in 1621 at the Plymouth colony, along
with about 90 Native Americans. The
day had been set aside by Gov. William
Bradford as a day to give thanks for the
harvest. The feast lasted three days, but
the exact dates are unknown.
Historians know only that the gather-
ing occurred in late autumn.
Throughout colonial times, celebra-
tion of Thanksgiving was spotty, and
strictly a local custom, primarily in
In 1789, Presidents George
Washington proclaimed the first nation-
al holiday of Thanksgiving, inhonor not
of the harvest but of the United States
Constitution. A decade later, the third
president, Thomas Jefferson, discontin-
ued the holiday, because he believed
the feasting and celebration to be "a
kingly practice" and unseemly for the
Thanksgiving returned to being a
strictly local custom held on widely
varying dates in autumn, unobserved
in most parts of the Republic.
It was not until nearly a century later
that another American president,
Abraham Lincoln, proclaimed a nation-
al day of Thanksgiving, on the last
Thursday in November because that
was the date of Washington's original
Finally, in 1941, Congress officially
changed the date to the fourth
Thursday in November.
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8s Dallas Voice Holiday Dining Guide 1997
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 14, No. 30, Ed. 1 Friday, November 21, 1997, newspaper, November 21, 1997; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth616180/m1/76/?q=RIO%20VISTA: accessed October 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.